February 2010 Archives

Hi Missy,

I have a chocolate chip cookie mix (arthur's instant mix) -how would you "sneaky" it?? thanks!–Andrea S. 

Hi Andrea, 

Congratulations for thinking of applying sneaky techniques outside of the box ; ) 

I can't give you a definitive answer on what to sneak into this particular cookie mix, because I've never used it. But I'd venture to guess that white beans might be a place to start. Why don't you model your recipe after mine for Unbelievable Chocolate Chip Cookies from my first book, which I've pasted below.

Enjoy in good health!


Unbelievable Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Book 1)

Nutrition Highlights: Whole grains, nuts, and beans
Rich in vitamin E, folate, manganese, selenium, tryptophan, and fiber

Oats and white beans make a decent chocolate chip cookie, you ask incredulously? And I want to throw in wheat germ and whole-wheat flour! Well, tasting is believing. Watch your kids devour these seemingly sinful, yet incredibly nutritious, cookies. This was the hardest recipe in the book. I had to consult with a real baker, my close friend, Karen, who spent many days in the test kitchen with me working out the kinks until we came up with a healthy cookie that didn’t taste healthy! First, we were able to cut back on the sugar by one-third, resulting in a mere one-half teaspoon of sugar per cookie. Then we added fiber from nutrient-packed wheat germ, whole wheat flour, oats, almonds and white beans, all of which help to slow down the release of sugar and avoid the normal “ crash and burn” after kids eat cookies. Karen also convinced me to make them “ mini” cookies, so kids could have two for the price of one.

Makes about 50 two-bite cookies

1 cup Flour Blend (see Make-Ahead Recipe #13)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor 
2 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor (omit if allergic)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Optional extra boost: 1 cup chopped walnuts or dried berries such as blueberries or raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, baking soda, salt, ground oats, and ground almonds (optional). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars until creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and White Bean Puree. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Stir in chocolate chips (and walnuts or dried berries, optional). Make two-bite cookies by dropping rounded half-teaspoonfuls, spaced 2 inches apart, onto nonstick or parchment- lined baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a metal rack.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature.

Sneaky tip: double or triple this recipe and save some of the batter rolled in plastic wrap in the freezer for homemade “slice and bake” cookies anytime. 

Egg Replacer

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Message: My younger son is allergic to egg, tree nuts and peanuts(severe). It is rather easy to bypass the tree nut and peanuts in your recipes, but not the egg. Since it is my older son who is the poor eater, I would like all of us to eat the recipes you have. Do you have suggestions of replacing the eggs in your overall recipes?–Christine S.

Dear Christine,

The easy solution is to use a product called "Egg Replacer" by Ener-G Foods Inc.

It's available in all health food stores in the baking section, as well as in many regular supermarkets.  It comes in a box, like a cake mix, and you use something like one tablespoon with a little water per egg.  Directions are on the box.  Works great.

There are also a number of egg replacers that work very well depending on what you're cooking.  Tofu, for example, works very well where a lot of eggs are involved, like in quiches, or even tofu omelets! 

Flax seeds also work, as well as various vegetable oils.  I suggest you do a quick Google search on "Egg Replacers" and you'll find recipes for exactly what you're doing.  In the meantime, here are some others that work:

2 tbsp corn starch = 1 egg
2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.

Enjoy in good health, and keep up the great work!


If food is love, then your family will adore this Sneaky Chef Valentine’s Day recipe that’ll keep their precious hearts healthy!

These treats are so cute that Sammy is bringing them to school for the other kids on Valentine’s Day. They are a nice change from the heart-shaped lollipops and chocolates that the other kids share. 

Make 6 balls

6 cups popped popcorn 
4 ounces regular marshmallows (a little less than half of a 10-ounce package)
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Cherry Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
3 tablespoons oat bran
6 craft sticks

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a saucepan, melt marshmallows and canola or vegetable oil over low heat. Stir in Cherry Puree and oat bran. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then spray your hands with oil and shape mixture into 6 baseball-sized balls. Re-spray hands with oil as needed.

Insert a craft stick into the end of each ball and place on wax or parchment paper to harden. 

Make-Ahead Recipe #7: Cherry Puree

2 ½ cups fresh or frozen cherries,* no syrup or sugar added
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Makes about 1 cup of puree

Fill the bowl of your food processor with the cherries, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of water; puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth-out the puree.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of puree; double it if you want to store another cup. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

*Try to use organic cherries, since they rank high on the “dirty dozen” list of produce most contaminated with pesticide residues.

For more Valentine’s Day recipes, check out The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue: 101 All-New Recipes and “Sneaky” Tricks for Creating Healthy Meals Kids Will Love

 I just had to comment on this recent reader story in my blog: 

Lori from Brighton, Colorado, previously wrote me a very moving testimonial about her 2 year-old son being able to grow from the first percentile in weight and height to the 50th percentile in under a year using Sneaky Chef recipes (see "incredibly Moving Story" in "Ask the Sneaky Chef" forum). Now she writes that since her son has seen her making the Purple Puree with spinach in it and he likes that, he'll eat spinach on other foods too, like pizza and ziti!

I have always maintained that sneaking facilitates teaching for lots of reasons, and "transference" is certainly one of them. "Like it here, like it there" is a big part of kids' mentality. Bringing peace back to the table also creates an unpressured learning environment which helps kids learn more easily and normally, too. 

So sneak and teach, everyone : ) 

Enjoy in good health,


Brown Sugar Substitute

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Hi Missy–We love your book!  My kids call it the "book of kid food" and will try anything that comes out of it.  I was wondering if you have a replacement for brown sugar in recipes.  The molasses in it upsets my son's stomach and recipes don't seem as crisp when I substitute plain sugar. Thanks! Kara

Hi Kara,

I would try natural “sugar in the raw” or turbinado sugar. It's minimally processed and has a darker color to it. That should do it!

And it sounds like we hit it on the head with kid-favorite recipes, didn't we?!

Enjoy in good health, and keep up the great work,


Blastin' Bean Dip

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Refried beans can be a Sneaky Chef’s best friend if they are low-fat and made without lard. Pinto beans top the antioxidant and fiber charts, so they’re already healthy in their own right—but they also provide a brilliant disguise for our White Puree. And don’t discount the health factor of salsa, which is one of the healthiest of America’s favorite toppings.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 cup White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #4)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
1 (15-ounce) can refried pinto beans, ideally low-fat
1 cup store-bought salsa
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: Handful of chopped jalapeños, plain yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, or a dollop of One-and-Only Guacamole. 
Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes, and then add the garlic, White Puree, chili powder, cumin, refried beans, and salsa. Stir well to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.
Serve with optional toppings and Spice Boys Corn Chips, whole grain tortilla chips, or carrot and celery sticks.

Chili Macho Nachos

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Makes 4 servings

Large bowl low-fat tortilla chips, ideally Sneaky Chef Spice Boys Corn Chips (Chili Spice Variation)
2 cups Sneaky Chef Doctor’s Choice Chili (or other chili)
1⁄2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnish
Chopped jalapeños, to taste, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line an ovenproof serving bowl or casserole dish with tortilla chips. Spoon the chili over the chips. Top with cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the chili is warmed through and the cheese melts. Garnish with sour cream or yogurt and jalapeños. Serve warm.

From The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man in the Kitchen!

Spiced Rattle Snacks

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Roasted chickpeas are a popular snack in low-carb diets. Borrowing from that philosophy, I’ve added our favorite “man spices” to entice guys to crunch on this high-fiber, high-protein snack rather than high-fat chips.
Makes about 2 servings
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch to 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, and toss until well coated. Spread the chickpeas on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, shaking the sheet and mixing occasionally until the chickpeas are crisp and “ rattle” on the pan.
Sneaky Tip:
Here’s something you probably won’t have to nag your man to do. A Greek study suggests that taking a daily afternoon nap may reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by more than 30 percent, which may account for the low level of heart disease in Mediterranean countries where siestas are common.

Heartichoke Dip

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I’m not sure what it is about guys and dips, especially hot dips, but they love them almost as much as kids love finger food. Hot artichoke dip seems sinful, and it usually is—it’s typically loaded with saturated fat from mayo and cheese. But here the White Bean Puree works overtime, cutting more than half the fat of the traditional dip while simultaneously adding a good dose of fiber and nutrients. And don’t discount the benefits of the common canned artichoke heart: this pantry staple is top-rated for antioxidants among all veggies. I’ve served this dip at a few Super Bowl parties, and it was gobbled up before kick-off!
Makes about 4 appetizer servings
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained, and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1⁄2 cup White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon wheat germ
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, White Bean Puree, 1⁄4 cup Parmesan, and the onion powder. Transfer the mixture into an ovenproof soup crock, baking dish, or large ramekin, and sprinkle the top with the wheat germ and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and golden.
Serve hot with Spice Boys Corn Chips, page 298, whole wheat pita triangles, or whole grain crackers.
Hot Artichoke Crab Variation
Follow the instructions for Heartichoke Dip, but add into artichoke mixture 1⁄4 pound fresh lump crabmeat from a refrigerated tin (about 1 cup), drained and picked through for bits of shells. The cooking instructions remain as given.
Sneaky Tip:
Artichokes have long been appreciated as a great source of fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron, but recent research shows that they may also bolster liver function by helping to remove toxins from the body. All that, and they’re fun to peel and eat, too!

Each of the quick fixes below not only enhances the nutritional profile of already nutrient-dense guacamole, but the hidden veggies add volume without the fat so your guy can eat even more of this popular dip. Be sure to offer it with smart dipping sticks, such as crunchy celery stalks, carrots, bell peppers, or Spice Boys Corn Chips, page 298. You can also mix in two or more of the boosters below, up to a total of about 1⁄4 cup booster per 1 cup of store-bought guacamole.
Each of the following quick fixes is for 
1 cup of guacamole
* 2 to 4 tablespoons Green Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #3)
Combine the Green Puree with store-bought guacamole, mixing until well blended.
* 2 to 4 tablespoons White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
Combine the White Bean Puree with store-bought guacamole, mixing until well blended.
* 1 to 2 tablespoons oat bran
Combine the oat bran with store-bought guacamole, mixing until well blended. Because of the added texture, this quick fix will go over better if something crunchy, like chopped red onion, is also added in as a distraction.

Eating wings is one of the ultimate guy rituals. Men love to one-up each other on how fiery they can stand them and how messy they can get. Let the men in your life occasionally enjoy this sneaky treat, while we enjoy watching them unknowingly lick cauliflower and zucchini puree off their sticky fingers! These wings go great with the not-so-classic Bountiful Blue Cheese Dressing (page 239), which is loaded with White Puree and low-fat ricotta.
Makes 4 servings
1⁄2 cup White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #4)
1 cup store-bought barbecue sauce or 11⁄2 cups Homemade BBQ Sauce*, page 226
Hot sauce to taste
4 pounds buffalo chicken wings (about 32 pieces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Celery Ribs, cut into sticks
1 cup Bountiful Blue Cheese Dressing, page 239
*If you are using Homemade BBQ Sauce, omit the White Puree called for in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
In a large bowl, mix the White Puree with the barbecue sauce (omit this step if using Homemade BBQ Sauce). Add the hot sauce to taste and set sauce aside. 
Spread wings on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and brush on the sauce. Continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned.
Serve with celery sticks and Bountiful Blue Cheese Dressing.


Dear Missy,

I want to thank you for helping improve the health of my son.  He was diagnosed with reflux at age 1 and allergies and asthma at age 2.  His weight was under the 1st percentile and his height was only the 5th percentile.  He vomited multiple times a day, sometimes just looking at a new food.  Last Christmas, my mother-in-law got me your book, and 1 year later my son is at the 50th percentile for both weight and height!  He is also off his reflux medication.  It's been amazing.  I thought I would share his favorite recipe (that he likes to make wearing his chef hat).

Blueberry Muffins, Sneaky Chef Style:

1 cup Purple Puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups Flour Blend
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Combine Flour Blend, sugar, salt, baking powder and set aside.  Whisk together Purple Puree, oil, vanilla, and egg.  Stir in dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Stir in blueberries.  Coat muffin tin with cooking spray and divide batter equally among holes.  Bake at preheated 400 degree oven for about 16 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

Thank you for your wonderful books!

Lori B., Colorado

Dear Lori,

What a wonderful and deeply moving testimonial you've sent. I can't tell you how much it means to me to get a letter like this. Really. I am completely awe struck. It motivates me to work ever harder, every day, to help children like yours.

I am so happy your son has improved! And there is the possibility that your story could be included in some future book that I'll write, similar to Sneaky Chef to the Rescue, so if you're interested, please keep me informed of your contact information if it changes so that I'll be able to reach you at that time.

I love how much Purple Puree you're using in the recipe! What color does it turn out??

Keep up the great work!


Missy: do you have a recipe for healthy mozerella cheese sticks with a sauce ? Thanks! Christy S.

Hi Christy,

Try adding some of my healthy purees to the sauce you're  using to dip into, or my Better Breading for the sticks themselves. You can find the recipes for these on the free recipe pages of my website. You'll be amazed at how much healthier the whole treat becomes!

Enjoy in good health!



Great for Family of 7

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Missy - Thanks for saving me!  I'm the grandma, cooking for a family of 7 (ages 9+) with non-meat and meat eaters.  Your recipes have ended food battles and elicited "great!" compliments from children and adults.  You inspire me to be creative in my menu-planning.  Many, many thanks!


Dear Kathleen,

Stories like yours make it all worthwhile! Sounds like YOU'VE got your plate full, cooking for 7 every day! Isn't it great pleasing all those different palates, knowing you're also making extra nutritious meals?

Keep up the great work : )


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